Home Inspection: What Buyers Need to Know

You got your eyes on a property that you want to purchase soon. One of the many steps in the home buying process that you should not skip is the home inspection. A home inspection protects the buyer from purchasing a home with undisclosed problems. A professional home inspector will check the property for you to look for any defects, potential problems, and assess the condition of the property.

What is a Home Inspection?

A property inspection is different from an appraisal. It is a visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home. You hire an expert to walk through the home and prepare a report that outlines the home’s major components. This may include the current condition, what needs immediate attention, and what will require maintenance after you move in. Home inspectors look at the exterior and interior parts of the property including but not limited to the roofing, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and foundations. These checks may uncover potentially life-threatening problems like asbestos, mold, or faulty wiring.

Since the inspectors can only report what they can visually acknowledge, they will not be seeing what’s inside the walls nor would they be moving any items or uncover what is buried underground.

If you are not satisfied with the home’s current condition, you can negotiate with the seller to lower the home’s price or arrange for repairs before closing. You may even decide to cancel the sale if you and the seller cannot reach an agreement.

Who Pays for the Home Inspector?

As a home buyer, it is your responsibility to pay for the inspection as it protects you from purchasing a home with significant issues. Your real estate agent can help you find a professional to inspect the property you plan to purchase.

House Inspection Checklist

Here’s what to look for:

  • Exterior
    • Roof
    • Downspouts and gutters
    • eaves, fascias
    • driveways, walkways
    • drainage, retaining walls
    • Garage
    • Exterior sliding
    • Exterior doors
  • Basement
    • Insulation
    • Plumbing
    • Windows
    • Sump pump
    • foundation
  • Attic
    • insulation and ventilation
    • electrical splices
    • exhaust ducts
  • Kitchen
    • Plumbing
    • sink and faucet
    • Shut-off valces
    • exhaust fan vents
    • built-in appliances
  • Bathrooms
    • tub and showers
    • ceiling
    • exhaust fan
    • toilet
    • all fixtures
    • plumbing
  • Interior rooms
    • walls, floors, and ceilings
    • doors and windos
    • ductwork
    • cabinets and countertops
    • foundation
    • fixtures
    • furnace
    • entrance
    • stairways
  • Plumbing
    • water heater
    • sewage ejectors
    • drain, vent, and waste systems
  • Electrical
    • air conditioning
    • HVAC
    • circuit interrupters
    • light fixtures, receptacles
    • power switches
    • service cables

The ultimate property inspection should cover all areas of the house, from the roof to the foundation and should be complete by a certified home inspector. Real estate agents can assist you in understanding the house inspection process and navigate the inspection contingency in our purchase contract.